Tuckpointing 1950s brickwork

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Old 05-21-14, 07:07 PM
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Tuckpointing 1950s brickwork

Hi,

I have a 1950s semi-attached house in Toronto ON and there are a number of places the motor between the bricks (double layer) where air gaps exist. I am planning to repair these places as in the winter the house was quite drafty through the plaster.

I've watched a few youtube videos and get the general idea but i had a few questions i wanted to run past someone with more experience.

1) What ratios do i need to use for the motor? I know older houses tend to not do well with the new style/ratios of motor. In fact one portion of my porch seems to have been repaired with some very light grey mortar which appears to have eaten away the previous mortar (?).

2) I assume it's ok to fill in the gaps where someone has placed wooded pegs, i was worried that these were left intentionally open to vent moisture out of the brickwork cavity? However i really want to seal these holes due to the drafts in winter.

3) I was planning on just using a cold chisel to remove the old mortar but i did wonder if i could rig up some sort of angle grinder blade on a drill (or even a dremmel) as i don't want to shell out for the speciality tool for this.

4) There's a section where the brickwork is flaking away, should i mortar over this section to avoid future flaking.

thanks for any advice.

Regards
orfeo
 
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Old 05-22-14, 06:15 PM
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Someone just posted some really good info on that but I can't find it at the moment. In the mean time, try the following site:
Lime mortar - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
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Old 05-22-14, 08:24 PM
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Thanks Pulpo,

I went looking for that post but couldn't find it either (yet). From your link i assume i should be looking for lime mortar.

From this post though it appears i shouldn't be hammering away at my mortar. I'm quite sure i would have ties between the two courses of bricks in my house.

I saw a 4.5" angle grinder for cheap, do people think that will suffice?

cheers
orfeo
 
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Old 05-22-14, 08:30 PM
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Does your place really have two different brick styles (smooth and striated) and mortar finishes (flush and raked joints)? Or did you slip the different-style pix in to see if any of us are awake?

You should remove loose and decayed mortar to a depth of at least 2.5 times the mortar joint width, or 1" deep in round numbers. A hammer and chisel will work, but could take half the summer if you have a lot of joints needing pointing. For efficient mortar removal, I prefer using an angle grinder with a masonry wheel; trying to grind out the loose mortar with an electric drill will almost guaranty that you'll be damaging the front brick corners, resulting in a sloppy-looking job. After completely cleaning all the loose dirt and debris out of the joints, slightly wet them before jamming in mortar. I prefer using a home-made tool for this, trimming a piece of 1 x 4 to just a bit narrower than the joint widths, shoving the mortar off of a hawk or steel float (used as a shelf to transfer it from the mixing bucket to the joints). Use a soft, Type N prehydrated lime mortar--using stronger blends will damage both older bricks and the original lime mortar you are trying to repair. Mixing the mortar slightly stiffer than when laying bricks will make for easier mortar pointing and clean-up afterwords. Wait until the mortar is "thumb-print hard" before tooling it.
 
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Old 05-22-14, 08:45 PM
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Thanks Bridgeman,

Should i also apply the mortar in 1/3s as Brickyard Blues indicated in this post? It sounds like the safest way to ensure the mortar dries evenly.

I'm not tucking the entire house, just sections where there are holes or signs of degradation (first walk then run).

Cheer
orfeo
 
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Old 05-22-14, 09:01 PM
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I have mixed thoughts about applying mortar in separate layers. Some will argue that doing so results in less chance of shrinkage cracking, but in my mind a more serious potential draw-back would be each layer adding locations for potential bonding failures with underlying material.

I forgot to answer one of your original questions, too. I wouldn't recommend trying to cover severely damaged bricks with a layer of mortar. It will only flake off when the deteriorating brick material under it continues to fail. You'd be far better off completely removing and replacing all of the "denters."
 
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Old 05-23-14, 07:53 PM
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Thanks Bridgeman,

Got the angle grinder today, fingers crossed i find some time to do the work while my one year old isn't looking. I'll try to put some pictures up when i'm done.

Oh and yes your eyes don't fool you, there is two different styles of bricks. I'd assume it was something to do with the cold climate. There's a house around the corner which has the whole house done in those striated bricks. But i assume they're expensive and the builder of this house just used them for the frost line.

cheers
orfeo
 
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Old 05-23-14, 08:27 PM
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Talking about eyes, make sure that you wear safety glasses when you use that angle grinder.
 
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Old 05-25-14, 04:35 AM
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safety glasses, face shield, full face dust mask, & ear muffs we rarely use grinders anymore since getting arbortechs but they're hi price for h/o's & diy'ers + no one rents them - least not in atl.

over 1" mortar, tuck in lifts for best results

use a small diamond blade - no more than 1/4",,, no, it won't get all the ' motor ' off the brickwork but it WILL help you keep the same size joint,,, as you develop your tuck skills, you can switch down to 1/8",,, there is a brick chisel avail that fits in an air gun - made specifically for tuck mortar removal & prep

good luck !
 
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